December 5, 2010

What if you could design the next M3?

E30 M3 2
VEP_3086 Armin

It never fails, any time Axis guys get together, the conversation will at some point come around to the BMW M3, usually with predictable results. I'm sure we are not alone, the M3 gets discussed so much because it is just one of those iconic cars that everyone wants to be perfect...for them. And therein lies the problem. So let's say you were put in charge, which 5 things you would you most like to see in the next model M3?

Is weight really a problem for you or will you be more interested in how it's appointed? Are there options you would like that don't exist now or are you happy with how the car is? Is the M3 still relevant or are you more interested in something like the 1 Series M?
I expect responses to be somewhat skewed given the nature of these pages but still, curious enough to ask!

BMW M3 Ericsson
end of post


  1. For me personally, less weight, less electronic gizmos, including Sat Nav and all the other Jazz.

    Keep the 50/50 weight distribution.

    Keep the car low-key.

    The E36 managed to almost be TOO low key, for people who like to show off what they have, but i enjoyed it.

    Personally, the Euro-Spec E36 M3 is an amazing car both on and off the road. The 3.2 can easily keep up with a E46 M3, due to slightly less weight. The handling is very similar, but you can tell that certain things on the E46 are more modern than on the E36.

    Power wise, i'm not sure. After a while, you always want more power, but having north of 300hp at your disposal really is enough for most instances. (Personal opinion).

    So, less weight, less electronics, same power.

    That's what i'd like to see :D

  2. I'd like to see it not be absolutely thrashed in every way by a Nissan.

  3. It needs a 4cyl, under 3000 lbs, and needs to be much smaller. No traction control, only come in a manual, something to take place of the e30 syle wing.

    so basically the same size, weight, and little more power than the e30, in a more modern body and interior.

  4. ^^^^ So basically you want an e30 with an aftermarket wing and intake/exhaust? :)

    It's funny you bring this up. I had a post all written out, completely sure an M3 is well within Porsche price territory. Glad I went and checked before I put my foot in my mouth. The closest thing would be a Cayman R, and similarly spec'd it's nearly 15 grand more then an M3.

    Sure surprised the hell out of me. After knowing that, I'm really not sure what I'd change -- seeing as how I thought it was 20-30 grand more of a car then it's price reflects.

    Probably just less weight.... the old girl has put on a few pounds in her years.

  5. Some hopes:

    -Stay with the v8 and make it even more fuel efficient. Would hate to see bmw go the audi-route by reducing cylinders and adding turbo...

    -Please please keep the stick-shift option! (like we even should have to ask)

    -Staying heavy is ok. You pay a price for safety and comfort, that's why we have track cars. Or for the more ambitious, guys who gut modern cars into track cars.

    -Kill the 4door or commit all-the-way with a wagon option.

  6. > commit all-the-way with a wagon option

    +1 for an estate version. The Ultimate Family Hauler.

  7. No turbo, no 4wd, please.

    Heck keep the same engine, and just lighten the thing a bit with more composite panels. As has been said earlier, manual should always remain standard.

    And to the anonymous who says:
    "I'd like to see it not be absolutely thrashed in every way by a Nissan."

    Yea, because you really should be buying any car to fap to the stats and ring times on some forum. I'm sure thats very satisfying.

  8. Oh and +1 to the "keep it low key" from the first comment. Helps keep away all the people who buy them to pimp them out and/or buy them as some sort of blingy status symbols.

  9. Instead of it being ALL m3s, I believe that BMW should allow people to choose between two types of m3 - sport and standard

    The sport should have

    1. sub 3300 weight - option of not including sound deadening material (the csl did not have sound deadening - but also had a cf roof, lighter seats, exhaust parts, body parts - but sound deadening is just something manufactures could OMIT)
    2. 6sp manual only
    3. clubsport package (all BMW performance parts) - reclining recaro bmw performance seats, roll bar, harness, fire extinguisher (optional via dealership programs)
    4. inline 6 with more power and not going with forced induction (more aggressive cams, better intake, better engine management)
    5. more parts available from the m racing division

    The sport should also be based on points - so you could technically get a full out race car- but at that point you should be required to have a race license. This should be based on how many "standard m3" parts you have omitted.

  10. I used to own an E30 M3. I eventually put an E36 M3 drivetrain in the car, which made it massively more fun to drive. However, even with the light E30 and powerful tuned S52, the power-to-weight of the latest copy is at least that good. So I can't say there's a problem in the power-to-weight department.

    I'd like to see:

    1- A "stripped" option, no gadget options.

    2- A reasonably priced Club Sport model that is actually available in the US.

    3- Press on with the high-rev normally aspirated format (This is almost certainly not going to happen)

    4- Continue to offer a manual gearbox

    5- Estate model

  11. 1. straight6
    2. no turbo
    3. lightweight
    4. more lightweight
    5. smash all audi's singleframed face

  12. I have always anticipated the launch of the "next M3" as it has always set the bar in its class and has been the car other major manufacturers look to in developing their own products in the same category.

    The one constant I have noticed and have always admired and appreciated over the years, is the M3s ability to do so many things so well. Its such a versatile car which looks great, drives great, fun on the track, fun on the street, discreet yet noticeably imposing to name a few characteristics..

    I love high strung I-6 motors. BMW is one of the last manufacturers to offer this type of configuration, and such advanced examples at that. Ultimately, I don't really care what motor goes into the next M3, as long as it performs better than the last one, is more efficient, lighter, more reliable, and more fun to use. This sofar, has been the trend at BMW which I don't think will change (except for the poor gas mileage of the S65). While Im not too keen on the idea of a turbo motor in the next M3, if it can deliver the goods and feeling of past M3 motors, then Im all for it, although I remain a bit skeptical that it can.

    The one thing I would like to see change is how the M3 and its options are presented and sold to the public. Wouldn't it be nice if you could order your M3 with a 4.10 diff from the factory? Or order it with adjustable coilovers? Wouldn't it be cool to have a list of performance options you could choose on the build sheet so you could personalize your M3 and have it the way you want it... with a short shift kit maybe, or stripped down with manual windows and nothing fancy so as to keep the price down... Much like how american manufacturers sold muscle cars in the late 60s... with a long list of performance options you could check off before the car was built..

    I understand that there is probably a good reason why BMW doesn't offer this.. Im sure that it would require a big investment and that profit per unit would be diminished but it sure would be nice.

    Everything changes though now with the introduction of the new 1M. Its kind of an affirmation by BMW that the current M3 has evolved on its own into a different species. It can no longer be compared to the "homologation special" it once was, but it can be a damn nice street car that can make you smile when you want.. Its identity has completely changed from a race car for the street, to a street car you can track twice a year (any more than that and you will need to refinance your house to pay for consumables).

    The 1M is supposed to fill the void in BMWs line-up and be that new "homologation special", full of soul and character... Its hard to believe that it will be able to live up to the legacy of past performance BMWs, weighing in at around 3400lbs, but we'll see. I can't wait to get behind the wheel of one... Would be great if they offered a version with no fancy options at all for right around 30k. Long live BMW's "homologation special".

  13. If I were dreaming? Smaller, lighter weight, more racing derived parts. But in the real world I expect a heavier, bigger, more luxurious car with more knick-knacks (and an even heftier price tag). The M3 is based on the 3 series after all, and that aint gettin' any smaller.

    I like whats going on with the 1M, very aggressive, but smaller and lighter (relatively) and a bit more raw. the latter being more in line of what the e30 was. But times have changed and the M3 is now a different beast. Being realistic I'd like to see the M3 become more bespoke, more unique and specialized towards the sporting driver. As said above; options. Give us a sport seat option, roll bar, sound-deadening delete, titanium exhaust, etc. Something a little GT3-esque, without the exclusivity and priciness of the GTS.

    Other than that, personally I'd like a slightly better seating position, steering with a bit more feel, and normally aspirated engine, but I'm dreaming again...

  14. BMW priced the 1000rr superbike to be competitive with the Japanese machinery, maybe the automotive side could do the same. Then again, I guess you just can't fudge things with bikes like you can with cars.
    Otherwise, they just need to put it on a diet.

  15. I would like to see ...

    - E46 proportions, offer coupe, sedan and of course wagon, stop with the conv. bullshit.
    - S85 V10, refine the reliability a bit and make it as loud as possible
    - DCT and a modern Motorsport "wonder diff"
    - Real fixed calipers on all four corners, hat tip to The Neck for pointing out that the e90 has basically larger e36 brakes on it, with really nice rotors thou
    - Make mine Avus over black OG E36 Motorsport pattern cloth

    Funny thing is, this I described a "parts bin" car, w/ the exception of the brakes everything I listed exists - That says alot about how good BMW is at what they do.

    I think we all have reservations about the impending move to smaller displacement w/ FI on EVERY manufacturer's new platforms .. unfortunately between CAFE and emissions requirements I do not think there is an alternative.


  16. Fascinating that only one person mentioned brakes. I think the 1M will fill the needs of many here but of course it's not an M3.
    As far as engine, you certainly get the feeling the turbo is inevitable. certainly if people demand more power (but what they mean is really torque) than the last version.

    I agree with the stripper options, cloth seats, sunroof delete etc. Unfortunately, the last time BMW made a real track car (the e36 LTW) nobody bought it!

  17. "Yea, because you really should be buying any car to fap to the stats and ring times on some forum. I'm sure thats very satisfying."

    Ha! Yea, because you really should be buying a car to fap on the mystic of a badge that has nothing in common with it's ancestor but is somehow still living off that mystic. Or maybe its the lack of relative performance and value to a Nissan that somehow shows a maturity in the purchaser.... Please, I'm certainly not a GTR fan but a 1700kg M3 is hardly rational alternative.

  18. I drove one E92 for one month continously, and while I must recognize that it's a very good car overall, I think it lacks a lot of things in many fields:

    On the street it's not really fun to drive, because you get really raw performances from the engine only in the high range of the rev counter. In the low-mid range there's nearly nothing, so when you need pickup you always need to shift down two gears at least.
    The gearbox is very good so that's not big issue, but I'd really like some more torque in the low range.

    That kind of engine that I don't like on open road, is anyway perfect for the racetrack. I did many laps on the Adria Circuit, in Italy, and I had a lot of fun. Anyway, the brakes do fade easily, so I had to stop often to make them breathe.
    Surely Adria is one of the most demanding tracks for the brakes, but it was a bit frustrating anyway.

    So what I'd like:

    N/A engine
    More torque in the low-mid range
    Better brakes
    A bit less weight.

    Less important, I don't like how the E92 looks.
    I liked a lot the E46 :)

  19. Ingredients
    1x Orange GTS M3
    1x Rustic e30 M3 Evo
    1x Infamous e46 M3 CSL

    Mix all ingredients well, discard all left over weight (leave aside for the M6). If you see any turbos emerging in the mix just pick them out carefully. Taste test the mix using a clean Nurburgring. Add a pinch of seasoning (alcantara and carbon fibre goes well). Balance the mix out on a smooth surface with even proportions front to back. Last but not least be sure to put all this on a non-slip base with as many pots as you can at each corner.

    Best served on a nice sunny day..

  20. 1) Less weight; more carbon fiber.
    2) Better intake system.
    3) Less electronics.
    4) Naturally-aspirated V8 to remain.
    5) Even higher revs than the E92's 8,400 redline.


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